If you’re under 21 and live in the United States, you probably know you are not permitted to consume alcohol. Yet despite the legal drinking age, countless underage motorists are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Alabama alone. Unfortunately, due to the Alabama’s Zero Tolerance Laws, these individuals face the same penalties as any other motorist—and it takes just one DUI conviction to jeopardize their futures.
Alabama BAC Guidelines
BAC, or blood alcohol content, is a unit of measurement used to represent the percentage of alcohol found in a person’s bloodstream. Under federal law, any driver caught operating a vehicle with a BAC of 0.08% or higher is considered legally impaired. However, federal law also states that you must be 21 or older to consume alcohol; as a result, the 0.08% limit applies only to drivers who have reached the legal drinking age.
To deter underage motorists from drinking and driving, Alabama—like many other states—passed a series of Zero Tolerance Laws, which make it illegal for individuals under 21 to drive with even a small amount of alcohol in their bloodstream. Under these guidelines, underage drivers can be arrested for driving under the influence if their blood alcohol content reaches 0.02% or higher.
Penalties For Under 21 DUI
The penalties for underage DUI are the same as any other drunk driving offense. Assuming you are a first-time offender and had a BAC between 0.02% and 0.08%, your sentence may include a 30-day suspension and up to a $2,100 fine. However, if you have a prior DUI conviction on your record, or were caught driving with a blood alcohol content above 0.08%, you will face much harsher penalties—including a longer suspension, more expensive fine, and a possible jail sentence.
Of course, the consequences of a DUI conviction do not end with your court-ordered sentence. As a criminal offense, your conviction will be permanently reflected on your criminal record—and as you can probably guess, having a flawed background can affect your eligibility for a number of employment, housing, and education opportunities in the future.
As a convicted drunk driver, you can also expect to pay much more for auto insurance than you did in the past. In fact, it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to charge DUI offenders two to three times more for coverage—and in some cases, it will be years before your rates are reduced.
In light of all these consequences, it’s easy to understand why so many drivers decide to obtain legal representation after being arrested for driving under the influence. If you were recently charged with under 21 DUI in Alabama, you should discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately. Submit your information online right now to connect with one of our lawyers for a free DUI case evaluation.